2005 has been a good year for British bands so far; it seems that for the first time since Brit-Pop that British artists are cracking the American market with the likes of The Bloc Party and The Kaiser Chiefs getting play listings left, right and centre. With the follow up to their brilliantly titled debut The Decline of British Sea Power, I expected Brighton based British Sea Power to produce something that would push them up there in the 'British Invasion' as the NME likes to call it.
Starting with the lead off single 'It Ended on an Oily Stage' with its upbeat guitar riff intro and lead singer Yan's sweet vocals it seems that this can't fail. With a voice as strong as his you might think that the band may just let him carry them along. However, with the next track 'Be Gone,' you realize there is more to this band than just a great vocalist and a plant infested stage show. The guitar seems to match the vocals all the way through, never once getting in the way but not letting them dominate the song. Okay the rhythm section may be a little simple but that never did U2 any harm.
Having lost most of the hard edge of The Decline of British Sea Power British Sea Power have crafted an album full of sing along anthems that seem suited for a festival stage. I dare anyone not to sing along to the chorus of 'Please Stand Up,' it's just so darn catchy and infectious that you find yourself humming it for days. Even when they aren't doing fast moving pop songs they seem to be able to be catchy, 'North Hanging Rock' appears to be written for a late Summer evening surrounded by nature.
It's hard to find a fault with this album, but I guess if there is one major one it's that all the songs seem much too short, just as you get going in the little warm euphoric bubble that the band create it's burst by the song ending and you have to start all over; which can be a tad frustrating. However they do make up for this with another great closing track, following in the footsteps of ' A Wooden Horse' British Sea Power have you eating out of their hand with 'True Adventures,' which seems almost dream like and seems to stop all other thoughts (I had to wait until the song finished before I could type about it).
Whilst a different sort of beast to its predecessor; Open Season shows a maturity and depth of song writing that most bands seem to strive for but never reach. It seems unfair that such a good album has not brought about the same sort of successes as other UK 'indie' acts; but hey, let MTV2 have The Kaiser Chiefs and all their fun, I'll stick to British Sea Power and their love of the trees.
8.5 / 10
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